Parish Bulletin Article: "New School Information": 8-9-20
We have some more information with transparency as we are beginning to prepare for St. Thomas Aquinas School. I will first mention some of the significant thoughts of how we spoke about in our School Advisory Committee. The first question—which was pretty powerful—was asking what their first words these last few months: marathon, full (positive, negative), emotional, grateful, appreciate, protective, anxious, lots of details, worried, losing minds, drama, over it, different emotions, not stable, so busy—stay focused, terrible.
For me, the openness of our members began our meeting by listening with each other. And that is how I want our team/family to walk with each other.
Next, our goal is to have your school five days a week. Our faculty, parents, and students at St. Thomas Aquinas School may grow with peace and calmness during this time. Our school is a Catholic/Christian School, allowing many opportunities for prayerfulness, "holy spaces," safety, health, and of course, Jesus Christ.
Also, we will be having max numbers for classrooms: PreK = 10 students per session, Kindergarten = 10, First-Second Classroom = 15, Third-Fourth = 15, Fifth-Sixth Grade = 15. We have done the best we could speak with all of our families who had their student's last school year, as well as our families at our parishioners. It will now offer registration for families in our community. Please call our school and registration as soon as possible due to the safety of the maxed classrooms.
Finally, adding to this bulletin article, you may pick up Principle Jerry's Covid-19 Preparedness Plan. Now, he did not make this up by himself! He received a lot of information as our Dioceses worked together within the Minnesota state that arrived at our Diocese of Duluth. After that point, it came to our school. At the same time, each school will experience different situations, especially at the beginning of the year.
May we all pray for our students, parents, families, teachers, administrators, and our whole family as school 2020-2021 school year begins!
Parish Bulletin Article: "Last Six Months with Chaos": 7-12-20
Can you believe that I will be concluding the sixth year at St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Columban and begin the seventh? Wow!
Each year, you may remember that I offer some of my perspective, gratitude, or some updates the last six months for you.
We have had some blessed gifts earlier in 2020, like our UCA goals, students at school, a new teacher, the selling of another building, serving, and beyond. Yet I will never forget these last several months and in the future with many of you.
A perfect storm after the death of George Floyd.
I mean, we experienced the first time in world history, that most everything was closed: schools, sports, businesses, hotels, airplanes, churches, and the hardest for me: Mass.
We have also faced changes in many levels after bad decisions in our country, especially with our brothers and sisters as American Indians, African Americans, Hispanics, and more. At the same time, we continue to see chaos, polarization, and political agendas.
What do we do for the next six months from my perspective?
First, I believe that each of us has individual responsibilities, and each of us is sinners. We must seek God's forgiveness and seek His mercy. If we receive that gift from God, we must do the same to others.
Second, I believe about a crucial verse: "What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; and there is nothing new under the sun" (Ecclesiastes 1:9). We ought to learn not only real history but also the TRUTH of God's Word in the Scriptures. Pick up that book and read it!
Finally, we must know that God IS LOVE. Follow Him. Listen to Him. Come to His Mass and His sacraments.
To my family, work and pray for our neighbors, and St. Teresa of Avila once said, "We can only learn to know ourselves and do what we can - namely, surrender our will and fulfill God's will in us."
God Bless, and may we continue to pray with each other.
Parish Bulletin Article: "Bishop-elect Michel J. Mulloy": 6-28-20
Bishop-elect Michel J. Mulloy appointed for Diocese of Duluth
Jun 19, 2020
Pope Francis has appointed Father Michel J. Mulloy, from the Diocese of Rapid City, South Dakota, to be the 10th bishop of the Diocese of Duluth, it was announced today.
Bishop-elect Michel Mulloy
Bishop-elect Mulloy was born May 20, 1953, in Mobridge, South Dakota, and was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, in 1979. He served parishes in both the Sioux Falls and Rapid City dioceses before being incardinated formally in the Rapid City diocese in 1986. He has spent most of his priestly ministry serving in parishes until his appointment full-time as vicar general of the Rapid City Diocese in 2017 and his subsequent election in 2019 as diocesan administrator after Rapid City’s bishop was transfered to another diocese.
Among other roles in the Diocese of Rapid City, Bishop-elect Mulloy has served as vocations director and director of the Office of Worship, as well as serving on the presbyteral council, the College of Consultors, the diocesan finance and pastoral councils, and the Sioux Spiritual Center Board of Directors.
His episcopal ordination and installation have been set for Thursday, Oct. 1.
Bishop-elect Mulloy will succeed the late Bishop Paul Sirba, who died unexpectedly on Dec. 1, 2019.
Parish Bulletin Article: "Verses in the Bible": 7-26-20
This past two weeks we have heard a clear proclamation from the prophet, Isaiah, and Jesus Christ. Both reminded the culture back then and now, that we must have ears to hear, and eyes to see. Sadly, many people do not hear or see the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Thus, I wanted to type some verses from the Scriptures that may really support your journey towards heaven. Enjoy!
· Micah 6:8: “He has showed you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
· Proverbs: 27: “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”
· Sirach 6:14-17: “A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter: he that has found one has found a treasure. There is nothing so precious as a faithful friend, and no scales can measure his excellence. A faithful friend is an elixir of life; and those who fear the Lord will find him. Whoever fears the Lord directs his friendship aright, for as he is, so is his neighbor also.”
· Matthew 5:9: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”
· Matthew 11:28-30: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
· Matthew 28:19-20: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”
· Romans 8:26: “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words.”
Always hear, with your ears, as you listen to the readings at Mass. And see, as you use your eyes to see the Scriptures.
The best news (pun intended) is in the BIBLE!
Parish Bulletin Article: "Happy Independence!": 7-5-20
Happy 4th of July for the United States of America and July 1st for our northern neighbors in Canada!
I may have written this last year, but I recommend readings these again:
· “In Congress, July 4th, 1776…
‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.’”
Let’s not forget history, both the good and the bad. And, never forget the men who put their lives on the line as they may have been killed by signing the Declaration of Independence (56 delegates from the 13 colonies). As our country began, here are the last words they wrote:
· “…that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”
While we are very blessed in the United States of America, even as our country is not perfect, we must never forget how fortunate we may seek “Life, Liberty, and Happiness”! We must continue to serve our brothers and sisters, our neighbors, those who are hungry, thirsty, naked, lonely, in jail, in hospitals, and those who have passed away.
May we follow God’s love to be in the “City of God” versus the “City of the World” (ex. “The City of God” written by St. Augustine 426 AD). As God’s Kingdom is around the globe, may we pray for our men and women who serve our country in the military branches, and all of our sons and daughters of God’s family around the planet.
God Bless and have a safe, wonderful weekend!
As summer kicks into full gear and I reflect on my past year of seminary, my heart is overflowing with gratitude. Following the Lord’s call has brought about peace and satisfaction unlike any other I have experienced. Despite a new set of challenges remote learning presented, God continues to bless me (and others) in new ways, making manifest His power even in uncertain circumstances.
One of the aspects of seminary life I miss the most is the constant fraternity in which each of us is surrounded. The importance of this is expressed in Proverbs 27:17: “As iron sharpens iron, so man sharpens his fellow man.” When we have friends and family around that encourage us to live a life rooted in Christ, not only do they help motivate us, but in turn, we help motivate them! I found myself back home abruptly without scheduled Holy Hour, Mass, and time of fraternity. Meaning, I had to live deliberately and find the proper balance between online classes and prayer without the guidance of a formator and the rest of the seminary community. This proved to be challenging but continues to be a source of growth as I walk towards God’s call for my life, whatever it may be.
Regardless of the challenges, God’s blessings shine through. The abrupt return home allowed me to spend extra time with my family, whom I would typically only have time to connect with once a week. I cannot help but feel blessed to spend the entirety of the summer with both my human family and my parish family here at St. Thomas Aquinas. Not to mention, Fr. Ben has graciously taken me under his wing and taught me about the life of a parish priest, which serves as invaluable experience as I discern my vocation. I ask for your prayers and know of mine for our beautiful parish of St. Thomas Aquinas!
In Christ, Ben Freeman
I must share a gorgeous day, trying to keeping us all upbeat with all that is going on around our country.
On Thursday, May 28th we, celebrated with our three sixth-graders who graduated from St. Thomas Aquinas School: Laney Becker (parents, Jed and Tonya), Nick Kostiuk (parents, Marnie and Michael) and Taleia Boyer (parents, Kim and Chad). These students were able to receive a "new" type of graduation, but the first graduation in many years. Thank you, Principal Jerry Hilfer!), and many of our teachers and employees to make it happen.
As our students did not know that we were going to have a "parade" to their homes, we were blessed to have a procession, led by Police Officer Michael Kostiuk (which I got to ride in the front!), Mayor Droba Harley (who drove his Delorean!) and each of our teachers.
For each student, we approached their homes, honking, celebrating, and having a quick six-foot social distance party. Each student was announced with the graduation pomp and circumstance played by John Faith, and Principal Jerry, as our keynote spoke to each student.
Each student received our gifts and encouraged them as they move forward in a new chapter as they are now seventh grade, and what a heart-warming afternoon.
Finally, as long as I am writing about St. Thomas Aquinas School, I must always give a congratulation for Patti Refsland as she received a new job, "right up her alley" in Crosslake, and John Faith has retired. Thus, we are already advertising open positions as a new 5th-6th grade teacher and a musician.
Please keep praying for our school, always remembering that Jesus Christ said, "…let the children come to me," and this will continue to occur, even with a challenging year.
Go, St. Thomas Aquinas SAINTS and, God Bless!
On September 19, 2013, Pope Francis used a phrase that is very timely today: "I see the church as a field hospital…". Why I remembered that line many years ago, what a prophetic image for us today.
Pope Francis' image of our church during this Covid-19 brought my imagination for our "field hospital." Doing so, I will be offering those in our spiritual journey as a priest.
To start, I think about prioritizing, prioritizing, prioritizing! For instance, is national news needed right now? Nope. How about Facebook beyond a new way of evangelization? Nope. How about small issues in my life? Once again, no! Please, prioritize your life, especially as we are experiencing challenges, staying home for many weeks, new spiritual directions, distance learning for children, and more.
Again, Pope Francis spoke about our church to look first to those with triage situations. For me, I must take the time and place to support those who are close to death. Whether this is in a hospital, nursing home, or someone's home, that is one of my prioritization. I must pray and quickly analyze via the Anointing of the Sick, confession, and their last communion (or viaticum, which means "food for the journey"). As a priest, that was, and still is, a triage, number one.
My next focus is to see who God puts to me for His mission. These may occur in many ways, which keeps each day different. Some have tough times in their lives or seeking a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ or those who need some encouragement and prayers.
Typically, my next level would be the day-to-day opportunities for my vocation: Mass, checking up with our team, discerning ways to seek growth for our parishes and school, communication with you, community members, our diocesan supporters and more.
Finally, we each need to find time to seek God's peace in our lives. For me, this consists with a nap every day since my stroke, time to pray, time to exercise, time to catch up with my family and friends. To all the above, I seek God's mission, and while sometimes this fills my plate, which leads to stress, I need to discern how to stay healthy to succeed what God has asked me to do.
Once again, another weekend to check in via my bulletin, and let's continue to walk minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, and hope we may come back together at the best time: Mass!
Happy Easter! For this article, I would simply like say once again, Happy Easter, and offer my homily from last weekend as we began the eight days—the Octave—of the most sacred days of the year.
Hope you enjoy it and know of my prayers for all of you during this powerful but challenging times in our lives!
“‘Be glad, let earth be glad, as glory floods her, ablaze with light from her eternal King, let all corners of the earth be glad, knowing an end to gloom and darkness’” (Exultent).
“Happy Easter, brothers and sisters! Happy Easter.
“I hope that as we gather together spiritually, that we can be physically with each other soon. The donut sign is still where the donuts will be back as soon as possible, though after the Eucharistic!
“I also bet that our students will also be excited that Lent is over, and they will receive candy after they memorize their Bible verses, and they will already have a pile of them as they were gone.
“I am so glad for Easter. And we get to celebrate, not just this evening, not just one day, but for 8 days…8 days!
“Jesus said in the Scriptures: ‘I am the light,’ and THE Light destroys darkness!
“I have noticed that the importance of light, both in our world, but more importantly in our spiritual world. The sun lights later each day. Our porch lights going around the country every evening at 9:00pm. The Lighthouse on Lake Superior has been lightening as we strive to fight against the coronavirus. There are lights around the country, lights on stadiums, for the prayers for our students.
“Once again, many people recognize these lights for the coronavirus, but we know that it is Jesus Christ is THE light!
“And if you haven’t already, please turn on every light in your house! I know we did as I need some sunglasses in our true home!
“As I am beginning to read the City of God by St. Augustine, I am realizing that we are always fighting against the City of the World. The former is built on the Light of Jesus Christ. The latter is hit by sin, evilness, and darkness.
“We began this liturgy with the Easter Candle, and listen some of the powerful words again, (and perhaps you didn’t hear me, or understand my singing). Or, it is odd this year, but most years you may remember how this one light, when it is passed to others, can light up a room.
“‘This is the night of which it is written: The night shall be as bright as day, dazzling is the night for me, and full of gladness. On this, your night of grace, O holy Father, accept this candle, a solemn offering…’
“Let us live in the light of Jesus Christ, not only in the fight against this virus, not only in the fight against sins against evilness, against this temporal world, but: ‘May this flame be found still burning by the Morning Star: the one Morning Star who never sets, Christ your Son,
who, coming back from death's domain, has shed his peaceful light on humanity, and lives and reigns for ever and ever. AMEN!’
“And happy EASTER!”
As we continue to experience some tough times in many levels around the world—the pandemic, a tough economy, and our communities with new obstacles for spirituality—I praise God that it is spring. Why? Not only for enjoying the season of nature, but also another way to give gratitude back to God. Here are some ways in which I am so grateful for this spring, in which you can do something similar:
If you have some time, with your kids, family, or personally, take a few moments to bring your gratitude back to God in this gorgeous new season in nature. And yes, I typically smile and chuckle with some humor, as each season does that as well!
3rd Sunday in Easter
This weekend, the third Sunday in Easter, allows us to continue to follow the path of Easter, a path that will conclude this homily as I would first like to speak about our readings
Our readings throughout Easter Season focus on the crucial Words of God in the Scriptures
§ And we hear about evangelization and proclamation of the Good News
· The Gospel’s with the Resurrection of Jesus as he himself preaches, as the best teacher
- Cleopas and a friend walking away from Jerusalem
- Jesus added to his presence in this walk
- Did you notice that they were downcast?
- Jesus must have chuckled when they asked if he was the only one who didn’t know what had happened
- “Oh, how foolish you are!
How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke!
Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things
and enter into his glory?”
- Jesus then said “He offered bread, and disappeared, because he was still there, in the bread!
Now, many of us, both we priests, and our families, we do believe in the Eucharist, but we may be sad, not being able to go to Mass, to receive Communion
And this weekend we heard some encouragement in Psalm 16
I say to the LORD, “My Lord are you.”
O LORD, my allotted portion and my cup,
you it is who hold fast my lot.
I bless the LORD who counsels me;
even in the night my heart exhorts me.
I set the LORD ever before me;
with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.
- Always listen this! Jesus is always with you!
“Therefore my heart is glad and my soul rejoices,
my body, too, abides in confidence;”
- Be confident in God!
“You will show me the path to life,
abounding joy in your presence,
the delights at your right hand forever.”
- My favorite part is that simple phrase: “you will show me the path to life”
Keep running this marathon to show the path of life, not only on earth, but for the finish line to get to heaven
God is good, and God offers his dominion.
Last week I occurred one of those beautiful experiences with not only God's gifts, but also the ministry of a married couple, an individual facing difficult situations in his challenging life, and two priests.
And what an image of God's fruitfulness when our brothers and sister need help, ASAP.
As I will keep the names of the couple and the individual will be anonymous, so let us imagine Jill and John, who in their lives have served many people who have been homeless, hungry, addicted to drugs, spending time in jail. As giving the gift of missionary services (who I do know them and listened to many of their fantastic services), they were facing a tricky spot.
As they knew for many years (as I will call him Jim), he was almost "adopted" in Jill and John's family. In some ways, they put him under their wings to protect and provide him as Jim has lived through a tough life.
Over the last few weeks, Jill has asked me to offer prayers for Jim as he was stuck in Oklahoma, hungry, with no money, and no place to stay overnight safely. We did pray. Some doors were opened for him with some food and a hotel for a few days.
Last week, Jim was not out of the woods, continuing to live day-to-day, hour-to-hour, as so many people face these lives around our community, our country, and our world. And how were we to support this man?
Well, shouldn't people ask help for our Catholic Churches? In fact, YES. We are the most prominent organization around the world that serves most people who are homeless, hungry, thirsty, naked, lonely, in jail, in hospitals, and must be buried.
Thus, Jill asked me one question: "Do you know anyone in Oklahoma?" and my response was quick: "I know one man in Oklahoma that I knew in the seminary many years ago, and I haven't chatted with him from many years. But I do know he is a priest in Oklahoma. His name is Fr. Michael Pratt. Check out his name on Google."
Do you know where Fr. Pratt served as his parishioners? Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, the same suburb that Jim was seeking support. I mean, I only knew one priest that I knew in the whole state of Oklahoma, and there is one of my brothers in the priesthood.
It was touching to speak with Fr. Pratt after many years, and it was great to check up with each other as we both serve God's will in different places. And one of his classic lines by the end of our conversation: "We'll take care of Jim."
As this was so powerful, it shows how we disciples serve God's Kingdom. May we support other people? Of course! Can we serve better? Yes! But at the end of the day, I praise God, because that is what God does. We must listen for our missions from God, and we must believe in faith, hope, and love. As God IS love, He is also in control even when we do not understand it.
Finally, I believe in faith. I do not want to be proud, but I did know in my heart that God will take care of the situation with Jill, John, and Jim. So why don't we believe in God's providence no matter what we face in our lives?
Good day to our parishioners at St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Columban! Once again, happy Easter as we continue to celebrate this season, as well as our beautiful weekend of Divine Mercy.
This weekend I would like to offer my gratitude as we continue to provide our time, talent, and treasure as a family, and how essential our family is! I mean, we may be focused on this coronavirus, but do you remember just a few months ago? We had concluded bankruptcy of our Diocese of Duluth, and each of our parishes paid it off to support our Diocese. Praise God and know of my thanksgiving.
Then comes COVID-19, and there we go again, though in a different challenge! Within this situation, I continue for us to follow our mission as disciples and as stewards. First, we must continue to use our time. As many of us have more time in our homes, let’s continue to grow our time with prayer. Offer prayers for those who are suffering from this virus, and other physical or brain challenges. Take some time to make phone calls for those who are homebound, in a hospital or nursing home.
How can you use your talents? I am so proud of our employees at our parish and school, serving our parishioners, students, and our community. While this is part of their jobs, they are showing their gifts to share with many people. Again, what charisms has God given you during this time?
How can you support all of the above with your treasure? Whether it is for a few coins, a regular donation, or offering other ways to support our family.
Finally, I am proud of each of you as our financial is A-Okay because of your generosity and prudence of our finance committee. For instance, remember that we sold our last huge rectory? We have a large chunk of that in a CD. We are also working for two other opportunities to support our savings during this trying time. The first is the Payroll Protection Program from our Federal Grants, which may be possibly free. The second is now private, as I want to make sure that it comes together for another tremendous gift, and I will announce that as soon as I can.
Again, I am proud of you, brothers, and sisters, as this period is a marathon. Keep pacing well with the Lord, with your time, talent, and treasure. God is in control of what is going around the world, and Jesus Christ is our shepherd.
God Bless and know of my prayers!
Last week I wrote a message for iFalls Nice, one of my favorite Facebook page. Its point is to continue to grow joyfulness, support and energy for our community. As we are going through this interesting season with the coronavirus, this is what I shared with our community, and would like our parishioners to read it too:
Thank you, when I was almost faced death in my first stroke. And thanks for many of you doing the same when I had a mini stroke last summer.
As I look, and think around our community, and around the world, there seems to be two extreme areas with this new disease: the former to be very scared--perhaps even death. The latter are those who think this "Corona without lime" is ridiculous.
I believe in what our patron--St. Thomas Aquinas--used many centuries ago; the "Golden mean," aka, finding the middle of most situations. In my mind, we are not on either extreme, but somewhere in the middle.
I move this sharing from the secular level as I also praise God. For instance, I pray beyond learning information, data, or how decisions I must do for our parishioners during this time, as crucial that is. And I praise God, that we, as a family, pray, pray, pray.
I pray for our scientists, doctors, genetics, immunologists, etc.
I pray for those who are suffering, not only this new disease, but also those who are hungry, thirsty, naked, lonely, in jail, in hospitals for any other situation.
I pray for those who are scared. I pray for those who do not care.
I pray that we, Christians, seek the time during the season of Lent to offer almsgiving, prayers, and fasting to seek God's mission in each of our lives.
I pray that we, in iFalls Nice, continue to not only speak in this venue, but also open our hearts to know of the love, mercy, compassion and salvation of Jesus Christ.
Praise God, he, too, died on earth, but destroyed death, sin, and all illness, including what we call the COVID-19, and opened the gates of heaven.”
Finally, we have made a copy of the prayer that I have been using at Mass from St. Damien: “Saint Damien, you ministered to those in despair and isolation. I call upon you, to open my heart and mind, to care for the poor, sick, weary, and forgotten. Bestow upon me the inner strength, faith, and unconditional compassion to be a disciple of Christ. I come before you also as your humble servant, to bless me with your love and instill the touch of healing and grace. Amen.”
This weekend I would like to continue to add information and challenging you, to our family, as we have some influence opportunities during Lent. As I wrote before, this Lent, we must support us to get back to the basics with Jesus Christ and we are offering some cake walk chances for Lent, both in our parishes and in the Diocese of Duluth. For instance
that every movement—sitting down, kneeling, the priest’s hands, using the sign of the cross, genuflecting, and beyond are not for lame ritual actions, but deep ways to worship God our Father—could this help you to dive into Mass? The event will begin with food, free after Saturday’s Mass, children care and learn quite a bit in 20-30 minutes. Please come and sign up to make sure we have enough food!
musicians, and times to stretch out your soul to engage with Jesus Christ’s true presence. And, here is a tidbit from Alex Schindler, who will be giving both a talk as well as praise and worship music:
I grew up just south of Ohio River in Lousville Kentucky, and through a crazy journey with God I have found myself in the Twin Cities of Minnesota. If you had asked me 10+ years ago what I would be doing today it most certainly would not be what I am currently occupying my time with, but God is funny like that!”
Let’s continue to walk through Lent well, and please check out some of these remarkable events to support your relationship with Jesus Christ.
A few weeks ago, I heard an interesting YouTube conversation with two men and a priest. As they have several videos on the internet with Catholicism, they began their discussion with fifteen "issues" that should be changed at Catholic Masses. I agreed with them with several of them, others in which I disagreed, and some I didn't hear their conversation as my nap began!
This weekend I would like to comment on some areas that could continue to grow or learn within Mass.
One of the issues that the gentlemen spoke about something essential today: healthiness as we receive Jesus' Body and Blood. As I have talked about this at Mass, please be wise and prudent if you are sick at Mass. If you are throwing up, know that it is okay to stay home! Remember, the Sabbath is for us, not us for the Sabbath. If you are ill, but not contagious, praise God and get to Mass, but no matter what, be careful during this season of the year, not only with the Blood of Christ but also the sign of peace.
A second comment on this YouTube was, once again at our parish, that clapping should not take place in Mass, except for an ordination, wedding, or something significant in our culture. One this comment, I will again remind our parishioners that our musicians do not enjoy hearing clapping at the end of Mass.
Why? They are not offering a concert, but they are offering their talents to worship God.
Another idea about clapping is something you may consider. Our lectors are dang good. They do not just walk up and read the readings, especially with large books or unique names. They practice. They read it with passion. They can proclaim the word of GOD. Outside of Mass, I think that these readers, and our School students, could be clapped like our musicians. Yet, they, too, should not be given an applause because they are helping us to worship God, not applauding to other people.
Finally, please remember to dress well, especially with typical Mass clothes or winter jackets this time of the year. You may not notice this (or you may), but sometimes we have seen scratches or scuffs on our pews. Often, they come from buttons, metal on clothes, or other clothes in which I have no clue (haha!). Let's make sure that our pews may be protected from items that we wear.
If you have any questions or other ideas that may continue to help Mass and our church and God Bless you!
This weekend I would like to offer part of a comment I made on my FB (which means Facebook for most of those who work this platform on social media). Like money, alcohol, possessions, FB is actually neutral but may become good or bad by how it is used.
Last week I put a controversial commercial that was not allowed during the Super Bowl, and I put my comment before this video: "Politicians could have commercials during the Super Bowl. This commercial was not allowed. And, these are real people who were survivors of abortion. ?"
This post allowed other people on Facebook to add comments or showing a thumbs up, and sad face emoji and angry emoji. As I was able to read through other peoples' comments, I responded again, and this was the real point of my belief of FB and social media, whether you are on these platforms or not. Here you go:
"When big controversial issues are coming on Facebook, I believe that you may have an opportunity, as an adult, to actually speak with another adult, in which you may disagree.
For instance, with the commercial below, it was indeed an emotional and challenging hot button issue. With one comment back, I moved from my FB to a private message. This then led to a conversation on the phone. That conversation led to more opportunities with sharing life situations, laughter, speaking and listening of each perspective, and learning more with the others' ideas.
FB can be done well, especially if it is a stepping stone to a deeper conversation rather than more gas on a polarized fire."
So, if you are on FB, Twitter, or what else there is out there, use them well. Make sure you're not using them for hours and hours as that doesn't seem healthy, in my opinion. And if you are not in this world, you are a-okay in my mind!
Welcome to the season of Lent!
Here we go with another winter/spring/summer in the seasons in our area, but also 40 days in our liturgical season.
I will be honest about Lent. On one side, at times, I love Lent, like the Fish Fry’s, turning off my cell phone or computer, trying to focus spiritually and challenge myself physically. On the other side, Lent is not enjoyable, fun, or as a cakewalk, when the above does not occur successfully. Kind of like running, fishing, deer hunting, or writing theses articles every week.
Or in another thought…Lent is similar to when we have a goal over many days, weeks, or years, finding a mighty achievement. Lent is like that, though what one of our teachers told us in the seminary, “If you do not fail your goals in Lent, they are too easy.” What?
This Lent, we must get back to the basics with Jesus Christ. Now, we do have many opportunities for Lent, both in our parishes and in the Diocese of Duluth. Here you go:
Let’s begin Lent well, and please check out some of these remarkable events to support your relationship with Jesus Christ!
In the second book of Samuel (chapters 15 and 16), David was experiencing some crazy situations. As the king, he was being kicked off his throne, and who was kicking him off? His son, Absalom!
Have you ever experienced your child that is leaving you, your faith, or your love?
I imagine David getting out of Jerusalem to be protected from his child! And then, here comes another man, an annoyance, or a beat down with words from a coward bully. Read what he was cursing toward his king:
"As David was approaching Bahurim, a man named Shimei…was coming out of the place, cursing as he came. He threw stones at David and at all the king's officers, even though all the soldiers, including the royal guard, were on David's right and on his left. Shimei was saying as he cursed: 'Away, away, you murderous and wicked man!'"
Have you ever had a time when you were having a tough day, and the last thing you needed comes from left field, only to receive more hurtfulness? I certainly have.
In this narrative, let's continue to read how David was protected:
"Abishai, son of Zeruiah, said to the king: 'Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over, please, and lop off his head.'"
Now, this is undoubtedly a bit intense response as David's protector calling Shimei as a "dead dog" and wanting to "lop off his head"!
But don't we sometimes want to respond to someone who just ticked us off immediately? Don't we react on Facebook, gossip with our friends, our "tribe" to lop off another persons' name or fight with words?
What really inspires me from David is how he responded, not with violence, not with reaction, but thinking about what God may be leading him.
Again, read King David:
"Then the king said to Abishai and to all his servants: 'If my own son, who came forth from my loins, is seeking my life, how much more might this Benjaminite do so? Let him alone and let him curse, for the LORD has told him to. Perhaps the LORD will look upon my affliction and make it up to me with benefits for the curses he is uttering this day."
What I took from this narrative was to seek true love for my family, even when they may frustrate me. And let's be honest, sometimes the people we love the most (like our family and friends) may offer the most challenges in our lives. We are also to pray for our enemies as Jesus taught us in the Scriptures many times. Lastly, how important it is to settle down, breathe, and discern how we, who may be ready to fight, actually need to open the door of a conversation and love as God's mission may be the opposite of our desires?